Posted on September 22, 2010

There She Is, America’s Perfect Teen–From Britain?

Michael Inbar, MSNBC, September 22, 2010

At first blush, it’s a familiar story: A small-town girl beats the odds to win fame and fortune at a beauty pageant. But the twist is that the small town of Anysha Panesar, newly crowned America’s Perfect Teen, is not in America at all–and that has some folks up in arms.

Anysha, 16, hails from Llangan, Wales–some 3,500 miles from U.S. shores. While on a family vacation in Kissimmee, Fla., last month, she entered the America’s Perfect Teen pageant on a whim. But lo and behold, when the winner was announced, she was the last young woman standing among 30 contestants.

“I didn’t think I would actually win because I’m British, so I thought there was no chance I was going to win an American pageant,” Panesar told the London Daily Mail newspaper.

But some pageant teens’ parents not only didn’t believe Panesar would win; they believe she shouldn’t have. They were shocked to learn that the pageant has no U.S. residency requirement, and have taken it up with pageant officials.


Riches-to-riches story

To be sure, Anysha’s tale is far from a rags-to-riches story–in fact, the $2,000 in cash and $18,000 in scholarship money may seem like small change to her family. Her well-heeled parents send her to the same elite private school in Cardiff, Wales, that chart-topping singer Charlotte Church attended. And they splashed out nearly six figures to throw Anysha’s Moulin Rouge-themed birthday party last year–a bash so lavish it was featured on MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16” reality series.


Even before entering the America’s Perfect Teen competition, the attractive teen was no stranger to beauty pageants. Her proud mother says Anysha has already been crowned Miss Teen Wales and won a modeling competition back home, and had even entered American pageants before, placing runner-up once.


Still, NBC’s Kosinski asked Galanes a question likely on many people’s minds.

“If an American teen can’t win America’s Perfect Teen–what’s to become of this nation, Michael?” she asked.


‘Best week of my life’


And while Panesar said she is aware of some complaints that a British girl claimed the America’s Perfect Teen crown, she sees it more of a case of the agony of defeat than bias. {snip}

Besides, Panesar believes the more apt title should be World’s Perfect Teen.

“I think that the pageant now needs to expand internationally, in my opinion, because I believe that it’s such a great opportunity for so many girls around the world,” she said.